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Can J Microbiol. 1999 Mar;45(3):201-8.

Biodegradation of cyanide compounds by a Pseudomonas species (S1).

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National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nehru Marg, Nagpur, India.


A Pseudomonas sp. (S1), isolated from soil by an enrichment technique was tested for its potential to degrade different cyanide compounds. Further, biodegradation/biotransformation of binary mixtures of the cyanide compounds by the culture was also studied. The results indicated that the culture could grow on the following nitriles by using them as carbon and nitrogen sources: acetonitrile, butyronitrile, acrylonitrile, adiponitrile, benzonitrile, glutaronitrile, phenylacetonitrile, and succinonitrile. Studies on the biodegradation of these cyanide compounds in binary mixtures showed that the presence of acrylonitrile or KCN delayed the degradation of acetonitrile in a mixture, while none of the other cyanide compounds affected the degradation of one another. The transformation products of the nitriles were their corresponding acids, and similarly, KCN was also directly transformed to formic acid. Studies on the transformation of these cyanide compounds showed that the rate of transformation of nitriles to their corresponding carboxylic acids was acrylonitrile > acetonitrile > adiponitrile > benzonitrile > KCN. This culture has the unique characteristic of transforming representatives of saturated aliphatic, aliphatic olefinic, aromatic, and aralkyl nitriles, as well as alkali cyanide, to their corresponding carboxylic acids.

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